Internationally, soccer is one of the most beloved games. The game has millions of fans worldwide, all of whom do their best to keep up with the players. While the US might not have much love for soccer, at least as compared to some of the other countries internationally, there is definitely a following here. Except, there is one big difference between the way soccer is treated in the US and how it is treated in the rest of the world. While the rest of the world treats professional athletes as they should, providing them first-class flights and allowing for optimal rest time, in the US, players often face a hard time travelling more hours than necessary and having fewer hours for recovery, but there is more to it than that.
The trouble of MLS
Recently, the soccer star Wayne Rooney released a tweet criticizing the MLS for the fact that it does not provide optimal travel time for the players. He says that players should be able to have charter flights instead of commercial, as that would be the only way to ensure the right amount of time travelled and the right amount of time rested. But that is not where it ends. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also been critical of the MLS, criticizing the postseason approach to the games, and implying that the MLS is nothing more than a joke, in terms of the skill required to play.
But there is more and more to criticize about the MLS. The league, because it is lacking in popularity within the US, has been having a hard time keeping the funds and the interests of enough people from the US to keep developing. As a result, it is lagging behind the rest of the developed world in what it is able to offer to their viewers and to their players. While the game might be better off than ten years ago when some players had to resort to writing online casino reviews in order to be able to get the ends to meet, there is still much to be desired.
After all, players would be able to perform better, if they had the time and money to dedicated entirely to soccer. It is a hard purpose, dedicating most of the time to sort, and not being able to receive the adequate kind of rest and accommodations means that the players will often end up underperforming and not showing their highest quality of skills. The MLS does not facilitate the financing or the chance for players to be able to dedicate as much time as they want or can to training, resting and preparing for games. As a result, the sport is not being played at the highest level in the US and thus is unable to gain any more attention from the local population. This becomes a vicious cycle, where the MLS is unable to build the audience it needs to expand because it does not want to expend the resources to be able to do so.
Reason for hope
While the MLS might be suffering, the recent rise of the Women’s soccer team within the world championship might be enough to drive more attention towards the MLS. If the women’s games are interesting, then more people might get interested in the men’s games, which might help the MLS drive its viewer count up. But, in order to be able to do so, the MLS needs to be able to capitalize on the recent events of the Women’s World Cup, and build a bigger following for the sport in general, rather than simply the female aspect of the sport. Whether the MLS manages to do so or not, is still a question. Whether it wants to keep flying their players around on commercial flights, or wants to provide them with charter flights, is what makes the difference between doing it and failing.